Everton T-shirt campaign.jpg

Everton T-shirt campaign

By CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]

Thousands of Everton fans sporting Madeleine McCann T-shirts swarmed into Lisbon on Thursday, October 22, for the Europa League match against Benfica which saw the northern England team thrashed five-nil.

In good spirits before the match, the fans congregated around Lisbon’s Rossio and Praça da Figueira square sporting Madeleine McCann T-shirts with slogans such as “Don’t Give up on Me” and “We’re Still Looking for You”, written in both Portuguese and English.

Blue Everton flags were boldly draped over the step railings leading up to Rossio Station while groups of supporters wearing blue curly wigs posed for photographs for amused tourists.

Mike Atkinson from Liverpool said it was his first time in Lisbon although he had visited the Algarve region before and John Woolvine from Warrington had also never visited the Portuguese capital.

The two supporters of the English Premiership football club were among a group wearing Madeleine T-shirts after the club launched an international T-shirt campaign to “re-energise” the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

“There was a call put out to do it and we thought it was a good thing since we’re a family orientated club and have taken the plight of the girl to heart,” Mike Atkinson told the Algarve Resident.

“We have to believe that she is still alive,” he added.

Everton have consistently supported the campaign for Madeleine McCann as one of the first photographs of Madeleine McCann released by Kate and Gerry McCann following her disappearance was of the then four-year-old girl sporting an Everton football shirt. It is believed the fans were wearing around 6,000 T-shirts between them.

The team suffered a humiliating defeat by Benfica, led by coach Jorge Jesus, in the first minutes of the second half of the game when three goals were scored against them by Saviola, Cardozo

and Luisão.

It was one of the worst defeats inflicted on a UEFA team in recent memory and went down in history as the worst defeat for an English side by a Portuguese team in Portugal.

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